Dear Gather friends and family, old and new,
Our summer tour of Exodus concludes this week, and I’ll miss hanging out with Moses and his people every Thursday. Watching them wander and learn, mess up and recover has been instructive and inspiring—a regular reminder that a life of trust is not easy. Paul stressed this in his second letter to the Corinthians. “We walk by faith, not by sight,” he reminded them (2 Cor. 5:7). When he wrote those words, he could have been thinking of his ancestral heritage, because that’s what Exodus is about: learning to live freely and moving forward by faith. While that sounds very spiritual, heroic even, it’s still a wacky way to cross a desert without a map or a final destination.
In Exodus, walking by faith tests everybody’s patience. With few exceptions (which are more likely omissions), folks stumble and lose heart. Nobody—not even Moses—keeps it together all the time. Yet they keep going. How do they do it? Why does Moses keep pushing the people farther into the unknown? I’m mystified at how they keep bouncing back after things break down, always moving, walking by faith with no real destination in view.
Where and how does it end? Most people assume Exodus finishes in the Promised Land. Not so. They’re still in the wilderness with only two years of their 40-year journey under their belts. And that’s fine, because there’s a more relevant and exciting idea on the loose in Exodus, a more powerful and enduring promise in play—more than real estate or national identity or marking borders. The story ends exactly as it should, given how the action begins. It all starts when God pledges faithfulness to Moses. From the flames of a fiery bush God declares, “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:12). And here’s how the story wraps: “The Lord’s glorious presence filled the dwelling” (Ex. 40:34). Bookends!
The message of Exodus—its theme as high school lit teachers would put it—is really about living in the present, trusting the divine promise of presence, and accepting we are never alone. This is not always easy to do. Indeed, if we look to Moses and Co. as our example, it takes years. Allowing God to be present is hard because it means we have to let God be God. And we don’t like that. We want to see where we’re going. We want to predict what’s next. We want to manage every minute. Yet the past year has taught we can’t see the future, we can’t manage every detail. We’re pretty much always walking by faith and not by sight as it is. So why don’t we take God up on the promise of presence? It takes a lot of practice. Years. But since we’re in the desert anyway…
Join us this Thursday at 7:30pm CDT as we spend time reflecting on our own summer journey through Exodus.
See you this Thursday at 7:30pm CDT.
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PS: Make sure you join us this Sunday at 5pm CDT for our monthly YouTube worship. We have a special guest musician and lots of wonderful features to strengthen and encourage us on our own journey. You can access the service via our YouTube channel:
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.